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Barn Panther: 1972 DeTomaso Pantera

We dream of finding a voluptuous Italian Supercar parked in an old barn, but even if we did find one, we probably wouldn’t even be able to afford rebuilding the engine. That is unless we found a DeTomaso Pantera, which is powered by a Ford V8. This ’72 Pantera was recently found hiding in a barn, where it had been for the past 10 years. This Panther can be found in Roseburg, Oregon or here on eBay.

The Ford 351 cui V8 gave the Pantera plenty of power, but was still reliable and easy to work on. The Cleveland V8 was strapped to a ZF transaxle, the same unit found in the Maserati Bora. For ’72, DeTomaso had to detune the Cleveland to meet emission standards, but still put out about 250 hp. This combination gave the car decent performance, but the ZF transaxle was known to be a bit noisy.

The interior of the Pantera isn’t as refined as other high end Italians, but it’s surprisingly well put together for a small manufacturer. The overall fit and finish of the Pantera wasn’t the best and rust can be an issue. This car has been parked for the past ten years, so it is likely to have rust issues. We would be sure to look this one over closely.

This car looks to be a decent starting point for a project, but the starting bid of $20,000 seems a bit too high to us. These cars are going up in value, but if this one needs a lot of work, restoration costs could easily exceed the value of the car. Do you think this Panther is worth it, or is it overpriced?


  1. Andrew Demco

    I think there seems to be some major work for someone owner is very vague on what they did to get it running. Lack of service records is a bit disturbing for any owner of this type of car. The lower dash by the switches seems to have melted could signal electrical issues. Nice car if its done right this one looks used and abused : (

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  2. russell

    not worth it to me. I considered on at the time. I thought about trading in my 1970 mustang fastback which had the 351 cleveland 4v, air, auto trany, traction lok diff, am/fm 8 track sterio, fold down rear seat, comp suspension and a bunch of other luxury items. Did not trade-glad I kept it. Howver sold it a few years later and got my first BMW. Man I wish I had that mustang back.

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  3. J. Pickett

    Oregon Car, no salt, only surface rust visible in any picture. Actually no rust in chipped paint areas. I’d say use it as a driver, My fear would be the zf box. Parts for that would be very expensive.

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  4. midicat

    Pass… It could be a good long term project, but the starting bid is a bit on the high side, although if it spent it’s whole life in Oregon, it shouldn’t have any major rust issues. J. Pickett beat me to the punch on the trans-axle, agreed that could be big money to set right.

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  5. alan

    Its only original once.

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  6. Europa TC

    I have done investigation into these as I thought I wanted one. Then I talked to past owners………………..then I didn’t……….want one.

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  7. paul

    looks beat to death & I would say that the resto would be all the car is worth when done, another words 80 grand in resto & thats what it’s worth.

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  8. Horse Radish

    There is a good reason why not much else was done here:
    this where it gets expensive, time consuming and takes some effort.
    I too saw that the dash panels look crooked and need help, heck, the whole car does, top to bottom
    …….so let’s just flip it now and make the profit without the work and hassle

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  9. Dolphin Member

    When I first stood beside andsat inside a Pantera I was surprised how low and small it was compared to what I expected from photos. I liked the body design then and I still like it now, but I have not heard good things about the experience of owning and maintaining / fixing a Pantera over the long term, so I’m with the commenters who say ‘pass’.

    Maybe an owner has some good things to say about owning one? It would be interesting to hear directly from owners. Anyone?

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  10. Gnrdude

    Elvis had one of these cars He Hated it So bad He took out his .45 & Emptied the CLIP into it.

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    • Brian

      Emptied the CLIP into it.


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    • Horse Radish

      I want that car that Elvis shot , bullet holes and all, finder’s fee paid !

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  11. Will

    I bought my Pantera 10 years ago. It had been in a barn for 14 years. I paid $20K – back then.

    It is by far the best car I’ve ever had. Nothing else is even close. I have owned: 67 Cougar 289, 68 Mustang 302, 67 FB 428CJ, 84 Mustang GT Turbo, 93 Mustang Cobra, 98 Mustang Cobra, and currently an ’01 Viper GTS ACR, plus my wife has a Porsche Boxster-S.

    The Pantera is rock solid up to at least 140mph. That’s as high as I’ve been (closed course). It is easy to drive, gets about 20mpg, and is surprisingly comfortable. There is plenty of leg room. There isn’t much head room. I lowered my seat. With the stock seat, my head barely rubbed the headliner. I drove my car as a daily driver for about 6 years. During that time, I used it to commute to work within Houston, and later commuting between Houston and Dallas.

    The car has issues, but they are no different than any car from the early 70’s.

    This car does not have a melted dash. The owner rearranged the gauges and the radio. That’s the vinyl bunching up. He might have hacked up the dash to make everything fit, but you can easily fix that with fiberglass.

    Rust is much less than cars of the period. Have you ever looked at the rust on a non-restored 72 Mustang? DeTomaso sprayed the bottom with a thick undercoating. There are some problem areas, but they are inexpensive to repair.

    The ZF is very strong, expensive to repair, but rarely needs it.

    If you work on your own cars, Panteras are a dream. There are several areas that need attention, but nothing is difficult. If you pay someone to do the work, they can be a money pit, as you educate your mechanic how to do simple tasks.

    This car: Probably needs the calipers rebuilt. They are probably full of rust. The rebuild kit is less than $10 per caliper, and it is easy work. It probably also needs new brake flex lines, new pads, and a good flush. Pantera brakes are very good when working properly. They have solid rotors, so they fade when racing, but for panic stops, they are better than my wife’s Boxster (with big Brembos). Panteras used Girling calipers which were standard on race cars of the day – including 427 Cobras.

    The power window motors probably don’t work. The grease inside hardens over time. It can be cleaned or they can be replaced with modern motors.

    The engine needs to be pulled and given a good basic rebuild. The timing chain needs to be replaced with one that doesn’t use a plastic coated aluminum cam gear, and the oil pan needs to be Pantera specific. These cars corner like a go-kart, but they were given a normal non-performance oil pan. Before I got a proper pan, I could watch the oil pressure dip in a long sweeping curve.

    The water pipes need to be replaced. Stainless kits are about $1K.

    The fuse box needs to be replaced. Panteras use European style bullet fuses. The metal tabs don’t grip the fuse tightly enough, so stuff will occasionally not work, especially when you use US style fuses. Many people make replacements that completely solve this problem.

    The radiator fans need to be inspected. If they are stock, they need to be upgraded. These cars do not overheat once you are moving, but the stock fans do not move enough air for traffic jams.

    If I had the room, I would buy this car for a 2nd Pantera. $20K is a very good price – even if there is a fair amount of rust. If the rocker panels are rusted away, $20K is too high.

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    • Dolphin Member

      Will, thanks for the detailed comments—very useful and encouraging for current and future Pa6ntera owners.

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    • Richard

      Will’ thats wat I remember when my friend had a Pantera it was insane n I love n owned Vettes.w/ the Pantera;s engine right by ur head it was music! Never played the radio when we cruised. bought back the good old days! one day plan to buy one! when I do would like to hook up w/ you.

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  12. Stephen Walton

    I had forgotten how cheap that interior looked.

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  13. Charles

    This barn find would not happen to be 4194 would it. Been looking for my father for his old car and would love to find it.

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  14. Gil

    I agree with most of what Will said. I bought my 4th Pantera about a year ago. Beside Will, I don’t think that most of the comments here are correct. I’ve had Ferrari’s, Corvettes, Cobras, etc., and I think that Panteras are the best for performance, price, looks and maintenance. The Ford Cleveland is easy to work on and parts are readily available. If you need the ZF transaxle completely gone through, it will cost you about 5000 dollars. Pantera Performance in Castle Rock, Colorado will do it for you. The water pipe system can be bought for around 500 dollars. Probably the biggest problem with Panteras, was the cooling system. On the freeway, no problem. Driving in town with traffic, big problem. But, for around 1000 dollars, you can replace radiator and fans that will solve the overheating problem. I don’t think that 20,000 dollars is too high for this car. Sure, the previous owner did some funky stuff, but the car looks complete. But, before I purchased this car, I’d closely look at everything. Rocker panels, wiring kits, seats, rims, etc., is all available and not as expensive as you’d think. If you are mechanically inclined and can do some body work, you’ll save a ton on a car like this. The Pantera has unlimited potential when it comes to upgrading the Cleveland and other customization. Barrett Jackson recently sold two Panteras for over 100 thousand. But, if your like me, spend around 70 to 80 thousand dollars and there won’t be much to do, and in the end, you’ll save money and headache. I paid 75 thousand for the Pantera I now have. It came with tons of excellent upgrades: Wilwood brakes, new suspension, rollbar, custom hood, all new door/window rubber, painted engine bay, 450 hp, nice paint, nice interior, etc, etc,. So, all I have left to do is the fun stuff: spoiler, engine cosmetics, and that’s about it. It came with very nice rims and tires, but I upgraded to billet Campys and 285/17 front tires and 335/17 rear tires. Most people that trash Panteras, have never owned one or hate people that have one. Panteras sound like dragsters, handle like race cars, have all the Italian good looks and relatively easy and cheap to maintain. Just remember, all cars are like women, you will have problems with them at times. But, you’ll keep the Pantera and glad you did.

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